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Vermes dismisses Klinsmann fitness criticisms

The Sporting Kansas City boss believes the U.S. coach had unrealistic expectations for the fitness his MLS-based players.

Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes has labeled Jurgen Klinsmann's criticisms of domestic-based internationals "utterly ridiculous."

The men's national team coach was unimpressed by the fitness levels of the Major League Soccer players called up for the January training camp and friendlies against Chile and Panama, but Vermes, himself a former U.S. international, says the German was unreasonable to expect peak form at that point in the calendar.

“Totally disagree with the comment,” Vermes was quoted as saying by MLS' official website. “You know, I have a lot of respect for Jurgen. Obviously, he was a great player. He's done tremendous things as a coach as well. But that doesn't mean every time somebody opens their mouth that they're right.

“To expect those guys to be in top form in a January camp is – and I mean this – utterly ridiculous.”

He furthered his argument by pointing out that Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi, who played a full MLS season in 2014 and was a part of the USA's World Cup side, was still suffering from an overuse injury in his right foot that kept him out of the squad.

Another Sporting player involved with the national team, defender Matt Besler, insisted his only fitness objective was to be ready for the new campaign.

"It's unfortunate that a player has to answer questions about fitness," Besler said. "It's something we don't want to do. I won't say anything about his comments. He can say whatever he wants. But from my perspective, my goal is to be at my peak fitness on March 1. That's when my season starts."